If you look at how parenting was back a half of a century ago and even before that, it was expected that the mothers stayed home to take care of their kids and the home, and the fathers worked. Therefore, back in those days, fathers were less involved in parenting because they were expected to be the breadwinners. That has been changing drastically over the last several decades.
You are finding that both parents are working, or the father stays home with the kids and the mother works. That is because the economy is a lot more different than it was 50 years ago and even sooner than that. The cost of living is more expensive, and this is why both parents are expected to work in order to maintain the household. And, if both parents are working, then that means both parents are equally responsible for child rearing.
However, because of how times have evolved where both parents work, and fathers are becoming more involved in raising the kids – many fathers feel like they are not doing enough and they feel lost in the parenting world.
Fortunately, there are solutions for fathers who are facing obstacles when it comes to being involved with the family. But, let’s now go over what these obstacles are and how these can be overcome.
1. The Father’s Role Expectation Is Not Realistic
Many men who are fathers have stated that they wanted to be the kind of father that their fathers were not. That is because since the men of most families were working and did not spend much time with their kids, they seemed to be emotionally distant. And these fathers want to be the perfect dads that would be able to provide for their families and play with the kids and be involved with childrearing.
These fathers can do that, but they also need to cut themselves slack.
The thing is that many of these men did not have the best paternal role models, so they are unsure of what fatherhood really looks like. The solution to this is that these men should focus on the positive aspects of their fathers and embrace those, and use those aspects for their own parenting skills. If these men did not have a father figure, then they never had a role model.
These dads need to cut themselves slack and do the best they can. There is no such thing as perfection. They will make parenting mistakes like everyone else, and the best thing they can do is learn from them.
2. There Is Not Enough Vacation Time Or Paid Leave
If these fathers have demanding jobs where they do not get much vacation time or paid leave, they will often feel like they are missing out on being involved with their families. However, they need their jobs to keep the family comfortable financially.
However, there is a solution to this dilemma. If fathers have to work late or are going to be very busy at work, then they can make time for the family at times when they will be present. An example would be is if they are working late, they can have breakfast with the kids. Even if they are involved for that, it will help them feel more connected and involved.
3. These Fathers Don’t Know If They Are Emotionally Connected to Their Kids
These fathers are working and are busy, and they feel like they are not emotionally connected to their kids because of this. These fathers are too hard on themselves, and they need to realize that they are doing a lot more for their families than they think.
If these fathers are feeling very badly about this and don’t know if they are really there for their kids the way they would like, then they can always talk to a therapist to help them see that they are doing their best. They also have to realize that they are doing the best they can by providing for their families and spending as much time with their kids as they possibly can. They must not second guess about how well they were doing as a father.
4. There Is Not a Lot of Community Support
Back in the day, fathers did not need support because they were the breadwinners. Mothers always needed a community to lean on since they were doing the bulk of the child-rearing and housekeeping. However, nowadays, because fathers are playing more of an active emotional parental role, they have no idea who to get support and advice from.
That is because there are not many support groups for fathers like there are for mothers when it comes to getting advice when it comes to child rearing. The solution for this is that these fathers can start building their own communities to support other dads. There may even be many Facebook groups already for that. And, these fathers need to look into that as a starting point.
5. Fathers Have Less Time with Kids After A Divorce
Unless the courts have proven that the mother is a deadbeat one who does not care for her kids properly and the father has always cared for the kids – after divorces happen, many times fathers end up missing out on being in their kids’ lives as often as they like.
However, one solution to this problem is that fathers can still be involved with their kids by texting them, calling them, and having conversations with his kids each day. Even if he gets to have less time with them, he can still stay in contact with his kids all the time. That also includes when the father has the kids for a weekend, he must not badmouth the mother in front of the kids. That will only anger the kids and alienate him more.
6. Fathers Can Take on a Role to Feed Their Babies When They Have the Opportunity
Many of the moms that can breastfeed their babies will likely do it, so fathers will often miss out on the experience of feeding their babies in the first few months of their life.
However, the reason that breast pumps are around is specifically for this kind of situation. Fathers want to bond with their babies and an excellent way is them being able to feed them. Especially when the mom can’t or needs rest.
7. Fathers Can Learn to Understand Their Children’s Moods
Mothers are known to be quite intuitive to their kids and how they are feeling. They instinctively know when the child is sick, happy, or sad. Fathers don’t usually have such a strong intuitive connection. However, one can learn what the cues from his kids mean, and once he does understand their moods and how they are feeling – he will feel more involved and connected. An example of that is if his toddler is rubbing his or her ears, that is a sign that the child is tired. This way, once dad sees that he can put his child up for a nap.
8. Fathers Can Get Involved with Teachers
Mothers over the years have been the ones to be involved in parent and teacher interviews. However, as long as the father is home early enough from work, then they can also be in touch with their child’s teachers and be involved to make sure that their kids are doing okay in school.
9. Fathers-to-be’s Can Go to the Mom-to-be’s OBGYN Appointments
Because fathers are always having to work during the day when an OBGYN appointment is set, that can be difficult for them to take the time off. However, if he can take at least one day off to go with his wife to the OBGYN appointment, he will feel more involved with the pregnancy. The same goes for ultrasounds.
10. Congratulate Fathers for a New Baby
This one is not necessarily about an obstacle that fathers face, but many dads feel left out since the attention is only on the mom and new baby. Dads deserve to be in the picture because they are the other half of how the new baby came into the picture.
Don’t forget dads and always ask them how they are doing, because this is a huge adjustment for them too. They may not be dealing with the extreme hormonal fluctuations and the trauma of giving birth, but they are as much in the picture as mom and the baby are.
So when the father doesn’t want to be involved…
Now you can understand how fathers struggle with their role since expectations have changed over so many years and decades. Now that times are different, and how expectations have changed, fathers can have an easier time working through obstacles that they faced in the old days.
If you are or know a father that has faced these obstacles when it comes to parenting, how were you able to overcome those?
Miriam Slozberg is a blogger, astrologer and freelance writer. Canadian mom of three, she writes about pregnancy and parenting, mental health, relationships and spirituality. Miriam is an advocator for mental health. She aims to help break the stigma that surrounds it.